UPDATE: Victoria council waffles on naming rights policy

Possibilities varied, but realistically, few Victoria structures would likely attract sponsorship

Would the name of the City of Victoria be on the table if the price was right?

Coun. Ben Isitt raised the question Thursday to push the boundaries during a debate about a proposed naming-rights policy.

“Would a tree be eligible as a city asset?” he pushed further. “Would the leaves on a tree be eligible?”

Mayor Dean Fortin, however, lost patience with the trajectory.

“I believe you’re being extremely rhetorical,” Fortin cut in.

Moving forward with the draft policy won a majority vote during Thursday’s governance and priorities meeting.

But by Friday, council’s commitment to the idea was doubtful. On that day, council approved the city’s top 16 priorities to guide their three-year term. Naming rights didn’t make the cut.

What that means for the future of the naming-rights policy is yet to be seen.

“That will be a discussion that’s upcoming,” said Coun. Shellie Gudgeon. “We have gone through a democratic exercise in identifying our priorities. To start shifting our minds at this point … it’s interesting.”

If council votes to pursue a naming-rights policy, it will proceed to a full-public consultation before being adopted.

The goal of the consultation would be to gauge support of this revenue-generating idea and help narrow down which city assets should be on the market for naming, if any.

The range of possibilities for corporate naming are wide: fire halls, municipal buildings, community centres.

Realistically, however, the assets likely to attract sponsorship are fewer. On Thursday, city staff identified the conference centre, community centres, the Crystal Pool and “bridges.”

Coun. Pam Madoff wondered how much a corporate naming right is worth to the city. “How are those decisions going to be made?” she asked.

As an example, Madoff pointed to the University of British Columbia, where a corporation must pay one-third of the cost of a building to put its name on it.

Coun. Lisa Helps said that’s the appropriate scale to look at.

“If someone wanted to name the Johnson Street Bridge, they’d have to pay a minimum of $31 million,” she said. “That’s an interesting proposition. I’m very interested in that.”

If it happens, public consultation would likely be held in conjunction with the city’s public budget meetings, scheduled for the fall.

Linking the two discussions would have the advantage of putting potential naming-rights revenue in context of the city’s greater financial picture, said Coun. Marianne Alto, who drafted the first naming-rights policy for discussion at council.

rholmen@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read